Monday, September 26, 2016

Hidden Gems: R.J. Larson

For the last Hidden Gems post of September, we have another wonderful fantasy author! I know, I know, they're practically all fantasy authors! But that's because Christian Fantasy is my favorite genre! *grins*

Moving on. We have a fabulous interview with the author, book covers galore (of course!), and a giveaway! Three e-books, three winners!

Reasons I Think This Author Is One You Need To Discover:

  • *drum roll* Books are Christian fantasy!
  • More like, Old-Testament Times mixed into a Thrilling Fantasy World!
  • Relatable Characters who mess up, but are given Incredible Roles like as Prophets, Judges, and Kings!
  • Unique Fantasy Creatures and Aspects
  • Exciting, Adventurous, Plot-Twisting Tales!
  • Thoughtful Themes and Powerful Messages of Faith
  • Just ... Awesome Books ^_^


Introducing ... R.J. Larson

R. J. LARSON is the author of numerous devotionals featured in publications such as The Women's Devotional Bible, and Seasons of a Woman's Heart. She lives in Colorado Springs, Colorado, with her husband, and she is suspected of eating chocolate and potato chips at her desk while writing. The Books of the Infinite series marks her debut in the fantasy genre.

R. J. is also known as Kacy Barnett-Gramckow!

Kacy and her husband have been editing and writing for more than twenty years. Together, they publish through their business: Gram-Co-Ink.



Ela Roeh of Parne doesn't understand why her beloved Creator, the Infinite, wants her to become His prophet. She's undignified and bad-tempered, and at age seventeen she's much too young. In addition, no prophet of Parne has ever been a girl. Worst of all, as Parne's elders often warn, if she agrees to become the Infinite's prophet, Ela knows she will die young.

Yet she can't imagine living without Him.

The last thing Kien Lantec expects on his first day of military leave is to receive marching orders from his Creator, the Infinite. Orders that don't involve destroyer-racing or courting the love of his life, Ela. Adding to Kien's frustration, his Infinite-ordained duties have little to do with his skills as a military judge-in-training. His mission? To warn the people of ToronSea against turning their backs to the Infinite to worship a new goddess.

But why Kien? Isn't this the role of a true prophet, such as Ela of Parne?

Seeking answers, Kien visits Ela and finds her stricken by a devastating vision of her own. Her birthplace, Parne, has been corrupted by her enemies and will soon suffer judgment. As Parne's prophet, Ela must risk her life and travel to warn her people of the coming disaster.

Separated from his beloved Ela, Kien sets off on his own journey to accomplish the Infinite's will. But Kien is determined to do whatever he judges as right in order to rejoin Ela and save her from the destruction she envisions for Parne.

Akabe of Siphra, I have brought your enemies low and lifted you from the dirt.

Against his wishes and desires, Akabe Garric has been chosen by his people to be king. A warrior at heart, he'd never dreamed of such a swift, unexpected rise to power. Determined to prove his worth to the citizens of Munra and honor his Creator, Akabe undertakes a monumental task: to rebuild the Infinite's Holy House in Siphra.

Only this I ask: Restore My temple and let Me dwell again among the people.

Akabe soon discovers that the land he needs is held by the Thaenfalls, known Atea-worshipers who will give up their claim only if he marries into their line. Though he seeks direction from the Infinite, his pleas are met with silence. Frustrated, Akabe makes an impulsive decision, sweeping his nation into a lethal storm that threatens his plans for the temple. As questions of love and faith become tangled with lies, ancient feuds, and treacherous plots, can Akabe, his mysterious queen, and his trusted friends Ela and Kien Lantec find the Infinite's path ... or will they fail as so many others before?

Will your faith hold strong when I am silent? Child, can you be My king?


For daring to trust their Creator, Araine and Nikaros are swept from their homes into a foreign land … slaves to their enemies.

Araine Khalome of ToronSea follows the goddess Atea. But Araine secretly questions Atea’s power as a goddess. Wrestling with her spiritual doubts, Araine finds old scrolls containing verses that come alive, beckoning her soul. Within those words, Araine senses the presence of the Infinite, the despised Most Ancient God, enemy to all Ateans, and she’s captivated—secretly risking her life to read the Books of the Infinite.

You are forever in My sight …

Betrayed and condemned, Araine is swept away to the kingdom of Belaal, where she is swiftly apprehended and marked as a slave. Caught up in the lethal political and religious struggles within Balaal, Araine joins forces with another slave, Nikaros, a hostage and exiled son of an Eosyth Lord. As they fight to survive the antagonistic royal court, Nik and Araine soon realize that they must also protect the despotic god-king who has enslaved them.

But the god-king, Bel-Tygeon, has plans of his own.

Child of Dust, are you My servant?

Fantasy inspired by the Book of Esther …

Bel-Tygeon, the fallen god-king of Belaal, has bowed to the Infinite and accepted life as a mortal. Now he is desperate to return to his kingdom. Hunted by his enemies, he accepts refuge among the Eosyths, at the bidding of Serena of Clan Darom. But Serena and her family are also Bel-Tygeon’s enemies, and he must conceal his true name and royal rank from them—even when he realizes that Serena is the woman he has sought for years. The woman he loves. The woman he longs to proclaim as his queen.

Yet she can never be his.

Serena of Clan Darom wants nothing more than to protect her family and to save her people, the Eosyths, from their many enemies. She cannot afford to fall in love with a madman. A stranger. Yet honor dictates that she must shelter Ty and protect him with her life. Will one act of kindness destroy everything she’s worked for and believed?

And how can the unknowable Infinite, worshiped by her lord-father, ever help her in their struggle to survive?

Child of Dust, are you My servant?

He is a nobleman, a murderer, and a traitor, with no hope of redemption … Until he joins the fight to save a royal dynasty.

Corban Thaenfall of Siphra is a fugitive from justice, separated by his own crimes from the woman he loves. Desperate to find peace for his warring soul, he resolves to make amends. But when he impulsively joins a fight to protect a family from mercenaries, Corban realizes that he risks his life and the chance to beg forgiveness for his crimes.

Matteo of Arimna longs to repay his enemies for the massacre that nearly destroyed his family and Darzeq’s royal dynasty. But with the realm of Darzeq in chaos and all loyalties suspected, he and his cousin, Anji, must depend upon a renegade nobleman to help them reach safety.

As they struggle to find peace, will they escape the Infinite?

An Agocii warrior seizes the chance to escape his outcast status and begin a new life ...

Vsevold, outcast warrior of the Agocii, finds hope in the defeat of his people at the devastating siege of Parne. Determined to begin a new life, he turns to the Infinite of Parne, shunning Utzaii, the sun god of the Agocii.

Longing to escape an isolated existence, Aniya, daughter of Vsevold, accepts her lord-father's new beliefs and carves out a daring life for herself, finding hope for a future beyond all her dreams.

But one fateful bargain will destroy their world and return them to the shadows.


Author Interview

What genre(s) do you write?

RJ: As R. J. Larson, I write Biblical fantasy inspired by the Old Testament, and by ancient history. As Kacy Barnett-Gramckow, which is my actual name, I write Biblical fiction based on the Old and New Testaments, as well as history. Will R. J. and Kacy ever write a book under both names? I won’t rule it out!

Do you have a release date for your next book?

RJ: Not yet. My agent and I haven’t conspired, er, finalized plans for The Blessing, which will be finished this month and edited later this year.

What’s one of the best things about being an author?

RJ: Wearing slouchy clothes, snacking, and sitting in a recliner while I work. It’s the antithesis of my regular full-time job!

What made you decide to start writing?

RJ: Love of the Scriptures, books, and storytelling in general. Even as a small child at age four, I remember dreaming up stories and asking myself, “What if … ?”

Which one of your books would you call the ‘story of your heart’ (or are they all)?

RJ: Each one of my books is the ‘story of my heart’ while I’m writing it. I love all of my characters; it’s a joy to watch them come alive as the story unfolds!

Of all your books, do you have a favorite cover?

RJ: The Ukrainian version of The Heavens Before, which I wrote as Kacy Barnett-Gramckow. The foreign translations are always fascinating. I’d love to be in on meetings when editors are deciding on how to reinterpret books to appeal to their country’s readers.

What was your hardest book to write, and why?

RJ: Valor, as R. J. Larson. When I first read Jephthah’s story in the book of Judges, I was so distressed (I was eight) that those verses haunted me for weeks and when I began to write, I knew I’d write his story someday—his daughter’s story actually. When I began researching the spiritual implications and scholars’ opinions, as well as the history behind the scholars’ opinions, I became excited, thinking that I might have found a way to give Jephthah’s story a twist. All my research led to one inescapable conclusion, and I cried over those last chapters. It’s probably my most controversial book.

What writing project are you working on right now?

RJ: The Blessing, as Kacy Barnett-Gramckow. This one was inspired by a tiny fragment of my own family’s history. Another “what if …?” set in 1890s Colorado. The irony? After I’d finished the first draft, I learned that my great-grandfather actually stayed in Denver with his older brother, almost as I’d written it in my storyline. I imagined that one almost too well. It was a shock.

In a few weeks, I’ll return to R. J. Larson’s realms. This time with a storyline inspired by our own medieval and renaissance lore from actual history, with Believers fighting for the freedom to possess and read the Scriptures and worship as the Lord leads.

When do you usually write?

RJ: On my days off. I work full time outside the home, and it’s a very physical job, so writing allows me to physically relax. Both jobs demand intense concentration, however, and I enjoy the challenges in each one.

Thanks so much for being here, RJ! Your books are truly amazing, and I hope this post helps get the word out! *smiles*

Connect Further with R.J. Larson:

Additional Blog Stops:

Mon. ~ Soleil @ ReviewsbySoleil: Book Review(s)


Enter the rafflecopter form below for a chance to win an e-book of choice from R.J. Larson! Three winners!
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  1. I have PROPHET on my phone, and all of her other books look sooooo good! :)

    1. Alyssa, I am in awe that you can read a book on your phone. My phone shrugs at my requests and goes to sleep.

  2. Replies
    1. R. J., (HEY, I like your initials!) Wouldn't you just love to walk inside those cover images and explore? Particularly those mountains in "Judge".

  3. Replies
    1. Natasha, thank you! I was so blessed while writing these books--they've been a joy.

  4. I've wanted to read these series for awhile! Just bought Prophet the other day and can't wait to dig in. :)

    1. Claire, yay and thanks! I hope you enjoy reading Ela's story!

  5. Ahhhhh, these books look SO good! A friend of mine recommended them to me and I must say, they look FANTASTIC! The covers for The Books of the Infinite series are stunning! O.O

    I haven't been around for very long during the Hidden Gems series, but I've loved what I've seen. ^_^

    1. Mary, thank you! Shantelle's work on this series is wonderful!

  6. These books sound so good! I love the covers! <3

    1. Elaina, they were amazing to research and write. I'm blessed to have followed these characters through their storylines!

  7. Thanks for commenting, everyone! I agree, the covers are BEAUTIFUL! Judge's cover is one of my favorites! ^_^

    And the stories, amazing as well, yes! I hope all of you thinking about reading these fantasy books will!! :) :)

    I loved Prophet too, Gabriellyn! It was such a fantastic introduction to a new fantasy realm! :)

  8. I've been wanting to read these for a very long time. Biblical feeling fantasy is great. It shows a different side of God than we tend to look at these days.

    1. Anna, I never expected to write Biblical fantasy--I learned so much while writing these seven books. Grateful and I loved the whole process.

    2. Anna, I agree that it shows a different side! Biblical-like fantasy stories, and Christian fantasy in general, are amazing because of that! ^_^

  9. Gabriellyn, thank you! It was a joy to write Ela's story for you!

  10. By the way, it's official! Prophet, the Ebook, is FREE through 12/31/16!

    1. Awesome! Those of you who haven't read Prophet yet, this is the perfect opportunity! :)